Connecticut Ruling Not As Bad as First Feared


Following up on an earlier post today, after seeing the opinion online and reading it, it’s not as bad as it first appeared. I should have waited. The Court in Connecticut did not reach any decisions on the merits of the PLCAA claim. If I’m reading this correctly, the Court ruled that the Remington’s et al’s assertion that the court had no jurisdiction over the case was incorrect, and if they wanted to make their claim they would have to do so in a Motion to Strike, rather than a Motion to Dismiss.

PLCAA reads, “A qualified civil liability action may not be brought in any Federal or State court.” The defendants tried to argue that this means the state court had no jurisdiction over the case at all since it’s not a qualified civil liability action. But the judge ruled that many of the defendants claims speak to the legal sufficiency of the plaintiff’s complaint, and if they are going to argue legal sufficiency, they can’t do that in a Motion to Dismiss which argues that the Court in question has no jurisdiction to hear such arguments.

I don’t know Connecticut’s rules, but it would seem that Remington’s attorneys can take another bite of the PLCAA apple without having to go to trial to do it.

2 thoughts on “Connecticut Ruling Not As Bad as First Feared”

  1. Here is how the ruling goes:

    A) Defendants argued that court lacked subject matter jurisdiction (i.e. court can’t hear a lawsuit on this issue because it’s out of the purview of its powers)

    B) Plaintiff countered that the Court DID have subject-matter jurisdiction because:

    1 – PLCAA bars plaintiffs from using courts to sue for “qualified civil liability actions”;
    2 – A “qualified civil liability action” is a civil action brought against a manufacturer or seller of a “qualified” product;
    3 – A “qualified” product means a firearm;
    4 – However, the PLCAA says that a “qualified civil liability action” SHALL NOT INCLUDE an action brought against a seller for negligent entrustment;
    5 – We are suing these evil gun makers for negligent entrustment;
    6 – Therefore, the Court has subject-matter jurisdiction to hear this lawsuit to determine whether the defendants engaged in negligent entrustment.

    The court agreed with the Plaintiffs. Basically, the defendants were saying that the court lacked the ability to even hear a lawsuit involving a “qualified” product. Because the PLCAA SPECIFICALLY lists exception to the qualified immunity, the court has the right to decide whether or not the plaintiffs are correct in their negligent entrustment theory.

    There is a reason that the plaintiffs drafted the lawsuit the way they did. It’s the ONLY WAY for them to get it heard without getting it booted out of court right off the bat. Their theory sucks, and it will be a fucking stretch, but the court is correct in its determination that it has the right to decide whether or not the plaintiffs fall into the exception to the PLCAA.

    What the defendants did was try to get the case dismissed by saying that the court couldn’t even hear it (lack of subject-matter jurisdiction). The language of the statute (and other case law) makes it clear that courts could have the right to hear a case that centers on the exception to the PLCAA, therefore the court was correct.

    The court did acknowledge that the plaintiff will likely have to raise a motion to strike, this time based on the lack of sufficiency of the complaint (i.e. judge, you need to throw this complaint out because the PLCAA makes it impossible for the plaintiff to win on the complaint they drafted). That will be a stronger argument, and it **should** lead to the desired result, but the judge could rule however she wants, knowing full well that she will be overruled on appeal.

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